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Should We Be Worried If SP Tries to Sell Quezon Province on Clean Coal?

Straight Talk
by Nimfa L. Estrellado

Many folks, especially environmentalists are skeptical of clean coal, they say it doesn’t exist. In reality 100% clean burning coal does not exist, at least not yet, but it will some day. The CO2 not burned would be captured and sequestered. It’s often used to be put into the ground for pressure where oil is being pumped out the other side. There are various schemes like scrubbers, and other technologies used here and some really high-tech stuff being installed in China and being used already in Germany, the technology is really pretty good.

Apparently, many see SP members as flip-flopping on the issue of using coal to generate electricity. In reality their political rhetoric did not own up to the fact that we have over 60% of our energy now coming from coal. Now, environmentalists and alternative energy advocates are saying; “Have you done proper studies and research on each of these projects that would have long-term repercussions to the communities to be affected?”.

What is Clean Coal?

CCS requires the captured Carbon to be stored. The most popular scenario at present is to extract the gas from power station exhaust fumes, then liquefy the gas and pump it underground into places such as empty oil wells.

There is a major risk associated with this activity. Should geological movement open up one of these carbon storage areas, there would be effectively an enormous Carbon Dioxide burp emitted. Given the vast quantities of CO2 that are being planned to be buried, such an event could release enough CO2 to risk a significant imbalance in the atmosphere.

CCS does not remove the problem of Carbon Dioxide, it only buries it for a while and so leaves it as a gift for the future generations to deal with. The way things are going at present, our children and grandchildren are going to need all the help they can get, not an extra burden such as the ticking time bomb of billions of tonnes of buried CO2.

It is important to realize that CCS does not stop Carbon emissions. It merely delays them to become a future problem. It is just this kind of “I’m alright” attitude that has led to the environmental problems we have right now. If we are to genuinely clean up the future, we need to produce clean energy, not just dirty energy with a whitewash over the top of it. Perhaps we should refer to clean coal as “swept under the carpet” coal.